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Three Opposition MPs suspended in Nauru

Crackdown against critics continues

Police intervention was required twice in Nauru’s parliament as government and opposition MPs clashed over the suspension of three Opposition members last month. The standoff that has been brewing for sometime flared when the island’s legislature passed a government motion for the suspension of three Opposition MPs, namely Dr Kieren Keke, Member for Yaren; Roland Kun, Member for Buada and Mathew Batsiua, Member for Boe. Government used its majority to get the motion passed. On this particular day, May 5, Dr Keke was the only affected MP that was in parliament. His two other colleagues were overseas.

Drama ensued when Dr Keke refused to vacate his seat after the motion was passed, and when the Speaker ordered police officers to escort him out of the chambers, other opposition members of the House surrounded Dr Keke and told officers to leave their colleague alone. The Speaker was therefore forced to adjourn the session. The following day, Dr Keke turned up to parliament house with a crowd of supporters. Although police numbers have been beefed up in parliament, the Speaker took no chances and again cancelled sittings.

Justice and Finance Minister David Adeang had proposed the motion to suspend the three MPs after accusing them of making statements to the foreign media that were damaging to Nauru’s development. Adeang claimed the people of Nauru were becoming increasingly worried at the behaviour of the three MPs. “There is a place to argue your point and that is here in the parliament. These MPs have done what no other country would deem acceptable – use the foreign media to trash our international reputation,” Minister Adeang said.

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